Unrealistic Expectations

“If this happens the world could be so much better.”

The way you think the world should be is probably an unrealistic goal.

Many people have their own ideas about how the world should be run. In our democratic systems, these ideas all are represented at the voting booth – at least to a degree. For instance, I often hear people say “We in the United States have so much money and food, can’t we just give it to poorer countries and lift them out of poverty?” While an opinion like this sounds good on the internet, it’s very misinformed.

The infrastructure and logistics to provide that ‘relief’ goes beyond food – it goes into the billions of dollars. Food goes bad, so you’d need a constant source of production for that food – and obviously that would have to come from countries that have the capacity to produce that food. So, in order to provide for those in need, we’d need to force farmers to dedicate a specific amount of their work to providing for needs that others can’t fulfill for themselves. We’d also need to pull service workers out of the jobs they voluntarily chose as their career paths, and put them into farms to maintain this output – because even if we have a surplus for ourselves, the amount of waste and spoilage would proportionally increase with every mouth we feed. Not only that, but you’d need dedicated ships and trucks to keep these supplies going. The cost? More than likely, trillions of dollars overall to the average American taxpayers (I’m pulling that statistic out of my head). Ending world hunger alone is much more complicated than we thought.

Another unrealistic goal: “Can’t people just get along?” That’s another way of saying “Why doesn’t everyone just agree with my viewpoints on everything?” Even if you believe in objective right and wrong, there are so many differences and nuances that people have to bring to the table, different ways to perform a task at work, different approaches to studying. One may be better than the other. That’s the purpose of debate. By trying to shut down any form of debate, you elevate yourself to the level of God Himself – being right and absolute about
everything you think about.

The world today isn’t exactly the easiest place. Politics aside, there’s a lot to be divided about. We sit back and hardly agree about much at all anymore. So, oftentimes to cope, we wonder what the world should look like. This is like acknowledging Original Sin – that there’s something flawed about the world and it needs fixing.

Christ said ‘The poor you will always have with you.’ (Matthew 26:11). It’s not like we can simply eradicate hunger overnight despite being able to produce enough food to feed everyone. In today’s age, people love simple solutions to big and complex problems. They become convinced that if things were somehow different, they could run a country, or they simply impose their viewpoints on the whole world. American politics in many ways takes advance of this pride. It divides people into camps where those that make their way to the top tend to encapsulate two very different worldviews, so as a result there’s a breakdown and disconnect between people on either side as they have very different visions of ‘how things should work’ which is often driven about by these simplistic takes.

Don’t get me wrong – a complex argument that can be simplified is the best kind of argument because that makes it easier to share. But letting our simple ideas of how the world should be run isn’t necessarily the best solution, and that’s why as American voters we should take it upon ourselves to understand the arguments at plan and make an informed decision instead of letting people influence us into thinking a certain way or letting how we want to see the world detract from how the world actually is.

The world is a complex place, and unless you have a theory of society (and economics!) which accounts for all of human behavior – then stop simply saying how much better the world could be if something was done differently. The world is much more complicated than we think it is, and we still have to stand up for what is right. But there are a million things which led society up to this point. Instead of thinking about how the world ‘could be’, focus on the little things – much like St. Therese – and focus on making the world a better place for everyone by making
meaningful contributions to your communities and others. Learn about the world. Understand the depth and brevity of human society. Tackle the small, boring, mundane issues – as they all add up to big ones. Most importantly, don’t oversimplify the world – that’s the easy way out, which doesn’t help us grow or move society towards God. If we truly believe in a Universal, that is, Catholic Church, then we shouldn’t let platitudes rule our decisions.

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Joshua Nelson attended Franciscan University of Steubenville to earn a BA in Philosophy and a Minor in Finance, along with attending the University of Michigan for a Masters in Accounting. He has a deep love and passion for the philosophy of Stoicism, and believes it applicable to many aspects of our modern Catholic life, especially when it comes to bringing the supernatural into our ordinary routines. Having worked in the public sector, and currently working for a Public Accounting firm, he works to integrate his unique Catholic perspective through all aspects of life.

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